The Nivkh (also Nivkhs, Nivkhi, or Gilyak) are an indigenous ethnic group inhabiting the northern half of Sakhalin Island and the region of the Amur River estuary in Russia's Khabarovsk Krai. Nivkh were mainly fishermen, hunters, and dog breeders. The Nivkh were semi-nomadic living near the coasts in the summer and wintering inland along streams and rivers to catch salmon. The land the Nivkh inhabit is characterized as taiga forest with cold snow-laden winters and mild summers with sparse tree cover. The Nivkh are believed to be the original inhabitants of the region deriving from a proposed Neolithic people migrating from the Transbaikal region during the Late Pleistocene. The Nivkh suffered heavily from foreign influences, the first of which was the migration of the Tungusic peoples. Later Manchu dynasty in China forced tribute upon its people.
Contributions by Kain Nihil, ACSE, and Hottentot.